Death Angel – The Evil Divide
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: May 27, 2016
When people think about bay area thrash, the usual names come up; Metallica, Testament, Exodus, and of course, Death Angel. Formed in 1982 by guitarist Rob Cavestany and several of his cousins, he and long-time vocalist Mark Osegueda continue to wave the flag for the genre they helped begin. Almost 30 years after its seminal debut album, The Ultra-Violence, Death Angel returns with perhaps its most relevant effort to date, The Evil Divide.
The Evil Divide represents the bands eighth studio release, three years since 2013’s powerful The Dream Call for Blood. Opening track “The Moth” starts sedately enough, building with the slow heavy riffs of guitarists Cavestany and Ted Aguilar, and supported by rhythmic drive of bassist Damien Sisson and drummer Will Carroll. It’s not long before the heavy atmospheric intro transforms into a 100 mile an hour thrash metal fury. “Surprise, I’m back again!” proclaims Osegueda, and like a moth to a flame we are drawn in: Drawn into 10 tracks of thrash metal goodness like the pulverizing “Father of Lies” and “Hatred United/United Hate”, the punk-tinged mosher “Hell to Pay”, or the crushing groove of “It Can’t Be This”.
There are no meandering 12 minutes’ opuses here. Once you’re in there is no escape. Death Angel are writing some of the best music of their career, and considering they were teenagers when they started it’s no surprise their songwriting has matured along with them. Lyrically the album couldn’t have come at a better time. With the current state of politics in America, this album could have been written for and about both sides.
The Evil Divide sounds great thanks to the production of Jason Suecof, returning for a third time to work with the band, he affords the songs a perfect mix of old school thrash whilst still allowing them to be a part of a modern sounding metal record. Suecof once again turns in a guitar solo appearance, trading licks with Cavestany on “Cause for Alarm.”
You also have a band that are on top form, with Carroll and Sisson keeping the rhythm tight and fluid creating a thundering foundation. The guitar work of both Cavestany and Aguilar is superb, both complimenting each other, and Osegueda’s voice is as strong and angry as ever.
Beginning with 2010’s Relentless Retribution and the aforementioned, The Dream Calls for Blood, Death Angel has been on a blistering tear, upping its game with each release. The Evil Divide is already worthy of being of being discussed as Album of the Year pick.